Home / Archives / Volume1,No2(2017) / Special Edition 2017 No3 / The Applicable International Instruments in Preventing Genocide Against Minorities: The Case of ISIS

The Applicable International Instruments in Preventing Genocide Against Minorities: The Case of ISIS

Author: Sarbast A. Tawfiq Agha
College of Law and Political Science, University of Salahaddin- Halwer, Cihan University-Erbil

Author: Abdullah O. Yassen
Lecturer of International Law, Erbil Polytechnic University, Iraq




In recent history, minorities have faced gross violations of international humanitarian law. Due to their ethnic, religious, cultural identity they have been discriminated and oppressed by ruling majority that runs the State. They have been deprived of their basic human rights and isolated from participating in any sort of country’s decision making. In fact, in some instances, minorities have been subjected to recognized international crimes such as ethnic cleansing and crime of genocide.

This research paper reviews the emergence of minority problems, which have become a serious threat to international peace and security. Specifically, after the collapse of Soviet bloc and the eruption of Yugoslavian armed conflict, the international community had to react and develop strategies to address these new emerging issues. The adequate response by the international community was extremely necessary with aim to handle the further tension against minorities and the discriminative policies against them.

This research analyses the problem of minorities as a sources of armed conflict as has been the serious case of atrocious crimes committed by the ISIS terrorist group against minorities in both Iraq and Syria. It also argues for the establishment of legal mechanism as a possible venue to prosecute and bring the perpetrators to justice. This research recommends that the international community, through United Nations Security Council, establish an international tribunal to prosecute ISIS’s international crimes similar to the case of former Yugoslavia. This is because the UN Security Council has an obligation to adopt a resolution to  put an  end  to  the continuation of  gross  humanitarian violation against minorities and civilian population.



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International Instruments:

  • Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (adopted 17 July 1998, entered into force 1 July 2002).
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European Commission Resolutions:

  • European Parliament, ‘Situation in Northern Iraq/Mosul’ (27 October 2016, Resolution 2016/2956(RSP))
  • European Parliament, ‘The Systematic Mass Murder of Religious Minorities by the So- Called ‘ISIS/Daesh’ (4 February 2016, Resolution 2016/2529(RSP))
  • European Parliament, ‘Recent Attacks and Abductions by Daesh in the Middle East, Notably of Assyrians’ (10 March 2015, Resolution 2015/ 2599(RSP))
  • European Parliament, ‘The Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq and Syria, in Particular in the IS Context (12 February 2015, Resolution 2015/2559(RSP))
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UN Human  Rights Council Decisions:

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<http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoISyria/A_HRC_32_CRP.2_en.pdf> accessed 20 January 2017.

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